The stunning rejection of the $700 billion federal bailout plan should prove the folly of trying to slam through legislation of this scale without a fuller debate.
In their haste to appease foreign markets and Wall Street, the Bush administration and congressional leaders on Sunday cobbled together a 110-page proposal and then demanded that the House approve it Monday, virtually sight unseen. That left no time to gauge the reaction of the American people. No time to sell reluctant House Democrats and Republicans on the virtues of the plan. And no time to adequately consider alternatives - small or large.
That's no way to sell a mammoth bailout that may cost the equivalent of total expenditures on the Iraq war to date. It's no wonder the American people are furious with Washington.
The 777-point drop in the market - the largest one-day plunge in history - increases the pressure on Congress to take action. And if that didn't get lawmakers attention, then the failure of Wachovia, the nation's fourth-largest bank, should.